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My Favourite Kim Geldenhuys Commercials

This is another in the ACES series of featuring commercial filmmakers and directors that I admire for their dedicated craftsmanship in bringing creative concepts and storylines to filmic life that enthrall viewers and motivate well-earned accolades from the Advertising Communications industry.

Kim Geldenhuys

The multi-award winning South African filmmaker and one time fashion photographer, has directed some of my most favourite commercials.

1. Allan Gray Investment Management, The Letter

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Cape Town, South Africa

‘The Letter’ Allan Gray commercial has a personal poignancy for me with its insightful message analogy.

Shortly after the wall came down I was privileged to attend a Leo Burnett Worldwide Conference in East Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie was still standing, but with the notorious East German Border Guards hiding in their checkpoint cubicle, probably fearful of their future, there were no passport checks or stop barriers.

Sections of the graffiti-covered border wall as far as the eye could see, were also still standing.

The soulless austerity and drab façades of East Berlin buildings, pockmarked with bullet holes from World War II, its sad, paltry shop offerings and minimal street lighting at night, were a revelation for me.

The city was literally and figuratively without colour, and the contrast with the pulsating vibrancy of West Berlin could not be greater.

The many media stories about the successful efforts of family and friends to rapidly reconnect with loved ones the minute the wall came down were however, heart-warming.

Kim Geldenhuys in 90 seconds has captured the mood and tone of the time with remarkable monochromatic visual accuracy.

The chaos, the mass euphoria and the emotive uncertainty, immediately recalls to my mind, one of the most momentous geopolitical events in modern history.

2. VW South Africa, Thanks Dad

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, South Africa

I saw ‘Thanks Dad’ years ago and have never forgotten it. Kim Geldenhuys’s direction imbued the story of a father and daughter’s love and appreciation of each other with great emotional depth and resonating pathos.

Alun Richards composed the stirring soundtrack music.

3. Nedbank Private Wealth, No Stone Unturned

Advertising Agency: M&C Saatchi Abel, South Africa

For me ‘ No Stone Unturned’ is filmic storrytelling at its best. Superbly directed by Kim Geldenhuys the commercial was filmed on location in the fortified city of Benhaddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Morocco.

The two charming young stars of the commercial surprisingly had never acted before. They were cast after being spotted on the street but nevertheless, with Kim’s skillful coaxing were able to deliver very engaging performances.

The compelling ‘voice-over’ narration of the commercial is by Sunil Maholtr.

4. Nando’s, Blue Light Brigade

Advertising Agency: Metropolitan Republic, South Africa

Brilliantly directed by Kim Geldenhuys who displays a deft talent for filmic comedy, this satirical take on the ‘blue light brigades’ that South Africa’s Government Ministers are so obsessed with to the huge annoyance of everyone else, was an instant hit.

The commercial rapidly reached 3.2 million views, became one of the most watched YouTube videos globally at the time, and the hashtag #NoBlueLights received over 8,000 participants.

5. Santam, One-of-a-kind

Advertising Agency: King James Group, South Africa

Foreigners are frequently bemused by some aspects of daily life in South Africa that its citizens accept as par for the course of life in a society with such a kaleidoscope of diversity.

The selling idea of the commercial that ‘they are one-of-a-kind things, that require one-of-a-kind insurance’, is brought entertainingly alive by Kim Geldenhuys’s direction of depicting how foreigners relate and narrate what they perceive to be bizarrely amusing acts and occurrences.

6. Prudential Investment Managers, The Fishermen

Advertising Agency: Lowe, Cape Town, South Africa

Directed by Kim Geldenhuys and filmed on location in Madagascar, ‘The Fishermen’ is about the importance of ‘being consistent in inconsistent times’.

The emotive story relates to the endurance, courage and faith required to continuously apply ones knowledge and expertise day after day, to reap the benefits of success that in time, will come.

7. The Topsy Foundation, Selinah

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy, Johannesburg, South Africa

Kim Geldenhuys directed this powerful documentary style commercial for The Topsy Foundation’s campaign to elicit the support of public donations to assist them in their treatment and care of Aids sufferers.

The remarkable story of Selinah’s recovery, with the use of anti-retroviral (ARVs), made international headlines.

The many awards the commercial won includes a Loeries Gold for Film, a Cannes Gold Lion for Film, a One Show Gold Pencil and a London International Awards (LIA) Grand Prix in the TV category.

The soundtrack composed by Alun Richards and performed by Lea Siegel won a Gold LIA for Original Music.